“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
~2 Timothy 3:16-17~
Yesterday, as I recovered from having two root canals, my friend stopped in to drop off this bundle of soap she made for me.
She called me about 10 minutes before dropping in. She was running errands nearby and thought I would like to have the scent of lavender to help turn the focus from the pain I was in. I was touched by her generous and thoughtful gift.
As I looked at the soap, my mind started to wander. A couple of years ago, I learned a Bible study technique through a journaling class. It is called the S.O.A.P. technique. S.O.A.P. stands for SCRIPTURE. OBSERVATION. APPLICATION. PRAYER.
With this simple process I am able to stay in God’s Word and digest it. It helps me stay focused and learn what God has to say to me for that day.
I believe SCRIPTURE is the breath of God. It is the very essence in which I draw my strength and faith from. John 1:1-5,14 says,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John1:1-5,14)
Therefore, it is important to take the time to read Scripture and allow God to speak to your heart.
OBSERVATION is the next step after reading God’s Word. What is God showing you in what you read? What verse stands out to you? Who is God talking to? Can it be used in your own life?
Become like an investigative reporter. Ask yourself, “Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How?” Don’t get anxious or worry if you can’t find an answer directly. Tell God you don’t understand and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Ask Him to help you and guide you through the process of discovering who He is.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:7-8,
““Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
APPLICATION is the next step. God’s Word is personal. God longs to have a personal relationship with each and every one of us. He wants all of us to draw near to Him and discover the peace offered to each of us through Jesus Christ.
The Bible isn’t just a book to be kept on the shelf for collecting dust. It does no good for anyone if it’s left unopened and unused. I have been reading my Bible since I was a child and I STILL haven’t read through the whole thing from front to back. I still learn new things EVEN when I read passages I am familiar with. This is why the Bible is so amazing. There are so many lessons and instructions that can be used for our benefit. I’m not saying the Bible is a “Just do this and you’ll have success” book. Life is NOT like that. I’ll save that topic for another time.
1 John 1:7 says,
“…but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
The final step in this “cleansing” process is PRAYER. It’s a conversation.
I remember when a friend of mine asked me how to pray. I told her to just talk to God like He’s your best friend. Tell Him EVERYTHING. Just be YOU so God can start showing you who He is. No one has the right to speak with God but He has made Himself available through Jesus. We all have the ability to have a personal relationship with the Creator through Jesus Christ. When we go before God with humility and soulful honesty, we can expect Him to answer.
What do you have to be afraid of? After all. He already knows everything and nothing shocks Him. I literally tell God EVERYTHING when I pray. I tell Him how hard it is for me to overcome binging and creating healthier habits to replace the harmful ones. I weep over my failed marriage and deep pain my soul feels over not having a husband I trust or rely on. I tell Him how bitter I feel when I see others experience health and independence. I even share the funny things that happen or just drink my coffee and look out my window in silence.
Then, after all is said done, my soul is still enough to hear God answer me. He reminds me that “He is the bread of life. If I come to Him, I’ll never hunger. If I believe in Him, I’ll never thirst (John 6:35). I can come to Him when I’m weary and weighed down and I’ll find rest (Matthew 11:28). His grace is sufficient for me (1 Corinthians 12:9). If I ask anything in His name, He will do it (John 14:14). If it is His will for me to meet the man He has chosen for me, it will happen in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:1). He will help me discern His will for me (Ephesians 5:13). Release my bitterness and turn my eyes to Him(Ephesians 4:31 and Philippians 3:14).”
These are just some examples on how God speaks and encourages me. Prayer is an open line of communication we have available at all times. It’s not just for the bad times.
I often write out my prayers if I don’t say them out loud. I find it easier to write what I feel and what I fear. I also use music as a means to praise and glorify God. When my focus is turned from my circumstances, my circumstances don’t feel so overwhelming. When I search for who God is and seek His guidance, things don’t seem so bad or impossible. After all. God is the God of the impossible (Isaiah 45:2-3).
“I will go before you
and will level the mountains[a];
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you hidden treasures,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
Who knew I could learn so much from a bar of S.O.A.P.